Shavuot, Megilat Ruth & The 10 Sefirot Part Three
Transcribed by Daniel Goldman from a lecture recorded on 4 May 1999: Each of the 10 Influences was introduced into the world corresponding to the ten statements that were used to create the world. Each one of those statements introduced a different influence into the world. As we know, there were seven days of creation, and during those seven days the lower seven influences were introduced. With each of those seven interacting with each other, you had 49 combinations. At the end of the seven days, the world was complete. But there was one thing missing. All of these Divine influences were present. But if God were to make them manifest on His own, the purpose of creation would have been defeated. It would be up to the human being to declare that everything that was created is an expression of God.
These influences brought everything we know of into creation. This means that they not only brought Good into the world, but that they also introduced Evil. So here you have the human being perched perfectly between the sefirot on the side of Good and the opposing sefirot on the side of Evil. Neither side was complete. The human being had to make a choice.
All the Evil was external to the human being, as was all the Good. The Evil, which is represented by the snake, approaches Eve and says to her, “You don’t understand, do you? How do you think God became God?”
“I don’t know…He’s God!” says Eve.
“How do you experience this world?” the snake retorts. “Isn’t it a result of these influences? If these influences were God, you’d feel God in everything! You don’t because the whole idea of the sefirot is so that you wouldn’t feel God on your own. So, what really brought you into existance? – These influences! And all of these influences are growing on this tree! That’s why it is called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This is the tree from which all Good and Evil comes. Didn’t God tell you that is the name of this tree? Why are you listening to this God, when really God got all His power from this tree? If you eat from this tree, you will be the master of the world. You will be a power!”
So what did Adam and Eve do? They ate. And at that point, the Evil side of the sefirot became more powerful in the world. Instead of saying, “These influences are all I need to do to uncover Your presence. You are our Master,” Adam and Eve went the other way. At that point, the sefirot on the side of Good were ripped up from the world. They existed, but they weren’t as immediate as they were before.
Ten generations later (corresponding to the ten sefirot), in the days of Noah, no one is working towards uncovering God’s presence in the world. God decides to destroy the world with the flood, and bring it back through Noah. However, Noah makes a similar mistake as Eve, feeling that in a certain sense, it was he who saved mankind.
Another ten generations pass, and the world was still moving away. It was now 2000 years since the creation of the world, and nobody had even made the effort to find God. The window of opportunity was closing. Yet what do we see that man did? They built a Tower. What was the main sin of the Tower of Babel? What was their objective? – To make bricks! Tell me, would you draw up plans and then gather together all the necessary materials, or would you cut down trees and make bricks and then, after all that decide you wanted to build a city? So what was their real issue? “We’re not going to use stone – that’s already here. We are going to go one step further.” Who’s the power asserted in building the Tower? They are. (“We are the creative ones!”) This was the same mistake made by Adam and Eve, and the same mistake made by Noah after the flood.
But there was one person in that generation that managed to plant the roots. He said, “ I want to commit myself to restoring God’s presence in the world. I want to reach back to the world that came.” The name of that man was Abraham. He saw what happened to the people who built the Tower. He understood what happened to the generation of the Flood. Abraham knew God wanted something. “If what we do matters to God,” he reasoned, “then He must want a two-way relationship.” So Abraham looked around at the world and said, “The only way I know to serve You is to believe in you. I see a world in which You give and give, and You never ask for anything in return. Therefore, I am going to give and give and I’m not going to ask for anything in return. I am going to devote my life to a life of Chesed.”